I know, I know. I haven’t written about all of the recording sessions I’ve been doing lately, and I haven’t posted any of the pictures from the day trip RockShowGirl and I took on Thursday. I’ll get to all that.
In other news, I think I’m catching a summer cold. This blows. My throat’s killing me, and I’m coughing all over the place, but I’m NOT going to miss the Butterfly Boucher/Emilie Simon concert on Monday night. They’re two of my favorites, and no lame-o summer cold is gonna stop me from seeing them.
The good news is that I did have a lovely dream this morning, and here it is.
* * * * *
I’m with a bunch of my friends, and we’re standing in a semi-circle, talking, in a beautiful, grassy park. It’s a sunny day, and we’re all talking excitedly, and laughing, and having a great time. We are quite the melting pot of ethnicities, including an older black man in his sixties, a young Japanese guy in his twenties, myself, two white married couples in their early thirties, and an Egyptian woman in her fifties.
I walk away from the group to refill my empty water bottle, and as I walk back, I pass a black couple in their fourties. The woman gently puts her hand on my shoulder in order to catch my attention. “I’m really impressed with your circle of friends,” she says. “You all seem to be having such a lovely time. Have you known each other long?”
“Actually, we haven’t,” I reply, and smile. I gesture toward each member of the group in turn, and explain to her how I met each of them, or what I know about them, starting with the older black guy. “He’s a musician I’ve played with, he’s a student and a writer, I just met them today, they used to live in my old apartment building, and she was in the coffee shop yesterday.”
The woman I’m talking with laughs, and says, “Wow, that’s quite a group. I’d better let you get back to it.”
“Thanks,” I say. “I hope to see you again sometime.”
“I’d like that,” she says, “very much.”
We do a sort of one-armed hug, and my hand gets caught in her purse, which is sort of perched on top of her shoulder. A few things almost fall out, but I catch them. “Oops,” I say. “Do you want me to fix that stuff so it won’t fall out?” She shrugs her shoulder, and everything settles. “Oh. Okay. It looks like everything’s back to normal now. See you around!” I shake her husband’s hand and say, “Have a great day.”
I look over to see that my group of friends is starting to walk away and disperse, so I jog over to rejoin them. We walk out of the park and up an old residential street, where the black man, the Japanese guy and one of the couples go their separate ways. We all wave goodbye to each other. The remaining couple, the Egyptian woman, and I walk a bit further up the street, until we come to a hundred-year-old apartment building. I’ve seen it before, but I’ve never been inside. It is made up of a handful of units, all in a row, each of which is funky and unusual. The outside of the building is painted white with dark brown trim, and there are a couple of doors at street level. The place is old and not particularly clean, but clearly it is well-loved by the people who live there. It appears to be a kind of collective. I peer into one of them, and see an open space with high ceilings, dark red wood floors, and a few chairs scattered around. It looks like a dance studio, only without all the mirrors. I notice that there’s a loft area for a bedroom, and stairs that go down in the corner, presumably for a living area. “Wow, this place looks amazing,” I say to the couple. “Are the other apartments this cool?”
“Yeah,” the wife says. “They’re all different, though. Ours is only one story. This one’s three, and the others are either one or two.” She points to a hand-drawn map on the wall that is a layout of the building that shows how to get to the door of each unit. There is a hand-written list of “things to do” (recycling, weeding, touch-up painting, etc.) next to that, with a tenant’s name after each of the tasks.
“I applied for an apartment here a few years ago, actually,” I say, “but I found a cheaper place. I always wanted to see the inside.” I look back and forth between the couple and the woman, smiling mischievously. “Any chance I could see your places? No pressure.” The Egyptian woman says, “Sure you can, in a few minutes.” The wife also agrees, but they want a chance to clean up their place first. I turn and gesture toward the coffee shop next door. I ask the Egyptian woman, “Shall we?” and we walk together into the shop.
The inside of the coffee shop is as funky and cool as the apartment building. Wood floors, dark brown leather chairs, bookshelves, and a battered upright piano decorate the place. I walk over to the piano and play a few chords, very lightly, with my right hand. The piano isn’t as sturdy as it looks, and it sways back and forth. It seems to be there just for show, and isn’t really playable anymore. I lean it a bit to the side, and the leaning dampens the strings, so the music stops. I walk away from the piano to the counter, serve myself a cup of coffee from the drip machine, and then go over to sit across from the Egyptian woman in one of the comfortable chairs.
Suddenly some scratchy orchestral music starts to play, from what sounds like an antique phonograph. I look across the room and see the black woman I’d met in the park, with a very interesting contraption on the table next to her. I stand up, walk over to her and say, “What a pleasant surprise! And what an interesting machine! What is it?”
She gestures toward it and waves her hand in a motion for me to have a closer look. I move my head down near it, and see that it is, in fact, very similar to a phonograph. Instead of the big horn speaker, however, it has a beautiful wooden box with the speakers built into the sides, and it has a record-like mechanism that spins, with a needle in the record to create the background orchestra score, but there’s an intricate mechanism on top of the spinning record, made of gold, that plays a small grooved piece of wood (a tongue depressor or popsicle stick) by sliding it back and forth like a violin bow across an electrical pickup or some such thing, in order to create a violin sound. “That’s absolutely ingenious,” I tell the woman, “and so fragile-looking.”
“I’ve had this since I was a little girl, but it’s older than I am,” she says. “It belonged to my mother, and she got it when she was a little girl.”
“It’s beautiful; I love it,” I say. “I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
I straighten up and walk back to where the Egyptian woman is sitting. “Well, are you ready?” I ask her. “Thanks so much for letting me see your place. I really appreciate it.” She stands up, and we walk out the door together, back into the warm sun. We turn to go inside, and that’s when I wake up.